Ask the ExpertCategory: QuestionsNight shift premium
hri_Admin Staff asked 1 year ago

Hi there, 
We have an employee who started with the company working the night shift. Night shift pays 50 cents more than day/afternoon shift to start. The worker is being permanently moved to the day shift now. Is the company allowed to reduce this worker’s pay by 50 cents? Or do they have to remain at the same rate they were hired on at? 
Thank you in advance! 

1 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 1 year ago

The only surefire certainty is that the rate can’t be below the minimum wage. After that, it all depends on the circumstances:
If the employee is in a union, the wage reduction must meet the requirements of the collective agreement. If the employee isn’t represented by a union, the cut must comply with the applicable terms of his/her individual employment contract. There may be other written or verbal agreements that the change could violate.
Assuming there are no express contract bars, a unilateral cut could theoretically be the basis for a constructive dismissal claim, as could the move from the night to day shift, especially if these changes are accompanied by any other unfavorable employment changes imposed unilaterally.
Those are the risks to consider. If there are no contract violations, the cut is modest and the shift change from night to day is welcome, you should be okay. But you should probably get the employee to sign off on the change. If the shift from night to day is welcome, that would be the consideration for the cut; but if the employee would prefer to work at night, he/she will need some other form of consideration, i.e., thing of value in exchange for accepting the cut. Hope that helps. Glenn

Stephanie Fry replied 1 year ago

Thank you Glenn! This definitely helps